New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine October 2020 free digital issue

HABITAT

LENOX HILL

Access to a Neighboring Building Is Not Guaranteed

Written by Victor M. Metsch on October 08, 2020

Lenox Hill, Manhattan

Though the courts usually grant board requests, some are denied.

Even the best contingency plan can't prepare a board for unforeseeable surprises.

Is This the Perfect Boot Camp for Co-op Boards?

Written by Bill Morris on June 17, 2019

Lenox Hill, Manhattan

Gerry Maughan’s stint on a town council prepared him for board service.

A Fairy Tale About a Co-op Full of Happy People

Written by Marianne Schaefer on July 25, 2018

Lenox Hill, Manhattan

A visionary board and supportive shareholders add up to “unique” harmony.

Lenox Hill Co-op Gets the Ultimate Face-Lift

Written by Paula Chin on September 19, 2017

Lenox Hill, Manhattan

Reskinning replaces leaky white bricks with handsome red ones.

Reskinning an Albatross

Written by Paula Chin on September 04, 2017

Lenox Hill, Manhattan

Co-op board removes leaky white bricks and reskins its entire building. 

For such a relatively rare real-estate instrument, ground leases have been in the news a fair bit lately. And now the shareholders of Trump Plaza, at 167 East 61st Street in Manhattan, are getting news they might prefer to live without. As Bloomberg Businessweek reports, the family that owns the land beneath the 31-year-old luxury co-op wants to sell it — and the $185 million that the co-op board offered could hit some residents with an assessment of more than $1 million each. “People are calling me to stop this from happening,” said attorney Adam Leitman Bailey, principal of his namesake firm, who has been contacted by some owners wanting to keep the sale, and the assessment, from happening. But equally concerning is how much the ground-lease rent would go up another, outside buyer. In that scenario, the board projects, a monthly maintenance fee of $2,100 would increase to $9,800 when the lease resets in 20124.

A doorman who helped save the life of an elderly tenant trapped in her apartment for two days with a broken hip. A porter who collapsed on smoke-filled stairs after having helped get residents out of their apartments during a fire. An engineer and former New York City Department of Buildings inspector who became the super for a six-building, 1,700-apartment complex. They and 18 other city residential and office workers each took home a prize as the best in their categories in the 2014 Building Service Workers Awards.

The St. Tropez Condominium at 340 East 64th Street in Manhattan appears to be a nice place to live. The historic 34-story building — famous in real-estate circles as the first condominium in New York City and probably New York State, completed a year after passage of the state's Condominium Act of 1964 — sits in the tony Lenox Hill neighborhood of the Upper East Side, and boasts a pool, a gym, a garage, a roof deck and a children's playroom among its amenities. According to one survey, its 301 apartments sell for an average of nearly $2 million each.

So why would its condo association hold a homeowners meeting in a vacant commercial space with uneven floors rather than in a nice, safe community room or somewhere similar? Because it just seems that if the board members had only asked themselves that question they could have avoided all the unpleasantness that followed.

Just when you think you've heard every claim a New York City shareholder can make against a co-op board, along comes a shareholder who makes an allegation so out of left field, it's not even from the Yankees' or the Mets' left field but from the left field of, I dunno, Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles. 

The claim? That a co-op employee owed him a fiduciary duty to take his side in a dispute ... because they were sleeping together.

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